Ho Chi Minh City, the economic capital of Vietnam with 8.3 million people (2016), has been struggling to deal with traffic congestion in the recent years. The fact that personal vehicles are increasing every day causing traffic jam urges the government to take a public transportation project into consideration. This project is Ho Chi Minh City Metro.
The Ho Chi Minh City Metro Plan
Ho Chi Minh City Metro is a project aims at easing the traffic congestion. The project was first introduced in 2001 and is expected to finish in 2020. However, it was only until 2012 that the project was started. According to the plan, Ho Chi Minh City will have 8 metro lines with the total length of 220 km with a total investment of USD 22 billion. At the present, Line 1 and Line 2 have been put into construction. These lines have been funded by ODA and preferential loans.
Ho Chi Minh City Metro map simplified (Click for a larger picture: Nomadic Notes)
Official Ho Chi Minh City Metro map
The train for Line 1, is expected to be 61.5-meter long in total, encompasses three passenger cars, two of which will each be powered by a 380V three-phase electric engine. The train can carry 930 passengers, run at the speed of 110 kph above-ground (17.1 kilometers of the total route) and 80kph underground (2.6 kilometers of the total route), and finish each trip in about 30 minutes.
Projected Routes of Ho Chi Minh City Metro Lines
Line 1 of the Metro which connects Ben Thanh Market (District 1, the city center) and Suoi Tien Park (District 9 in the east of Ho Chi Minh City) plays a key role in the development of Ho Chi Minh City. JICA’s research indicates that if there had not been Line 1, a bus system with 5,000 buses would have been needed to fulfill the need of commuting in rush hour with the frequency of once every 10 seconds. In 2020, the number of buses is expected to increase to 6,000 – 10,000 trips per day.
Line 1 of the Metro is estimated to serve 625,000 passengers every day. By 2040, the figure will boom up to one million. The Metro will be the primary means of transportation while the buses will be the alternative choice.
Line 2 of the project will be 48km long with 11 stations, running between Thu Thiem (District 2 in the southeast of Ho Chi Minh City) and Cu Chi (to the northwest of Ho Chi Minh City).
Line 3a will be 19.8km long, running between Ben Thanh Market and Tan Kien Station (Binh Chanh District in the west of Ho Chi Minh City).
Line 3b will be 12.1km long, between Cong Hoa Roundabout (border of District 1, 3, 5, and 10, in the west of Ho Chi Minh City) and Hiep Binh Phuoc (Thu Duc District in the northeast of Ho Chi Minh City).
Line 4 will be 36.2km long, beginning from Thanh Xuan (to the north of Ho Chi Minh City) and ending at Hiep Phuoc residential area (Thu Duc District in the northeast of Ho Chi Minh City).
Line 4b will be the shortest, only 5.2 km long, from Gia Dinh Park (Phu Nhuan and Go Vap District) to Lang Cha Ca (Tan Binh District).
Line 5 will span 26km between Can Giuoc Bus Station in District 8 and Saigon Bridge which connects District Binh Thanh and District 2. This line will run from southwest to northeast.
Line 6 will be 5.6km long and run between Ba Queo in Tan Binh District and Phu Lam in District 6, from north to south.
Learn more about Ho Chi Minh City’s layout with our guide.
The Current Situation of the Ho Chi Minh City Metro Project
Line 1 of Ho Chi Minh City Metro was approved in 2007 with the total investment of approximately VND 17,000 billion. Unfortunately, the total cost of Line 1 was increased up to approximately VND 47,000 billion in 2009 due to the fluctuation of raw materials prices, fuel prices, etc. In June 2018, Line 1 of the project was only half-finished. Still, it is far from reality that Line 1 could be launched in 2020.
Line 2 was first approved in 2010 with a total investment of approximately VND 26,000 billion. However, at present, the total construction cost of Line 2 has used up to VND 48,000 billion.
These two projects have been delayed several times by the lack of continued funding. To avoid more delaying resulting from lack of funding, Ho Chi Minh City has been forced to use its own budget for the construction of the metro line. The city now suggests that Ho Chi Minh City should be allowed to control and handle the investment capital on its own instead of waiting for approval from the central government.
A part of Ho Chi Minh City Metro – Line 1
Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
In summary of An Overview of Ho Chi Minh City Metro Plan
Ho Chi Minh City has suffered traffic jams due to the rapid increase of individual vehicles in recent years. The Ho Chi Minh City Metro project has always been the hope of easing up commute in the city as well as helped reduce the number of accidents. Though, the long wait has somehow curbed the excitement of the citizens.
Sources from Ho Chi Minh City’s Management Authority for Urban Railways, Thanh Nien News, and VnExpress News.